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The times they are a-changing

Is employer brand management only about sprucing up your recruitment advertisement? It?s not so much as ?sprucing up a recruitment advertisement,? as a task in itself, because it?s not purely just a creative task. It?s more about understanding in a much more disciplined way precisely what the audience is looking for.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 14:07 IST

Is employer brand management only about sprucing up your recruitment advertisement? It’s not so much as ‘sprucing up a recruitment advertisement,’ as a task in itself, because it’s not purely just a creative task. It’s more about understanding in a much more disciplined way precisely what the audience is looking for.

You need to be very clear about what the underlying proposition is, which generally is the core that defines what makes the particular brand different and better. The temptation to spruce up your advertisements is to over-promise.
The promises in the advertisement need to be closely linked to the experience employees will have when they join the company. If it is not, then you will actually make the problem of retention worse.

Does the branding process end after the recruitment stage?
The problem is that it’s not very often integrated. You have one group of managers who are in charge of creating an external image and then a second group in charge of what’s happening internally. And even though they both may come under the hat of HR, the thought process is not quite consistent as in the marketing department.

So, is there a need to upgrade one’s HR department?
The main idea is how the HR team puts together an overall strategy that delivers not only a broad range of best practices but one which links up all the different elements — whether it is management training, or performance management, and try to bring them into alignment.

This way they deliver against their focused promise. And the other point is to work more closely with the marketing department to link up with what is being communicated externally.

In terms of the projects we have worked at, and in terms of the companies which had a very strong employer brand, the consistent feature, we found, which delivered success was not simply an HR process, it was first of all a strong collaboration between HR and Marketing but also essentially a collaboration with the leadership team as well.

If it’s not led from the top, the process is not going to have the same credibility. One has to understand that your brand is your reputation.

With HR being a critical factor in this experience, who should shoulder the responsibility of hiring the HR?
It has to be the senior management if they take HR seriously. Not all big companies see it as a board level appointment. Companies are looking for HR personnel who are joined up to business objectives, joined up to marketing, and to the other different functions rather than one which is far just administrative.

Tesco, for instance, has done a fantastic job on employer branding, by getting the right person from SmithKlineBeecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) to head this programme. And in turn having done a good job, he was headhunted and has since moved on to McDonalds.

There are now a number of HR heads who are making a reputation as people who understand their roles in building a reputation externally as well as internally and who seek to drive employee engagement rather than just make sure that all of the hygiene factors are taken care of. They are much focused on productivity, customer service, some of which may have been conventionally seen as outside their realm; they are right on the case now.